Brew Review

Beer Review – Manayunk Brewing Co. Yunkin’ Punkin’ Ale

Manayunk Brewing Co Yunkin' Punkin'

Fall is an odd time of year for me with respects to beer. Oktoberfest (aka Marzen) and pumpkin beers line the shelves, but with the exception of maybe two or three of them, I don’t care much for either of these beer styles. That being said, I’m always willing to try something new with the hope that it will change my mind, which is why I picked up a can of Manayunk Brewing Company’s Yunkin’ Punkin’ Ale. I figured that since I enjoyed their Schuylkill Punch, maybe I’ll like their pumpkin ale too.

Before we get to my review, here is what Manayunk Brewing Company has to say about this beer:

Brewed with real pumpkin, this seasonal favorite is the one true indication that fall has arrived. The aroma of nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon, and clove jump out of the glass creating an experience much like eating a slice of pumpkin pie on a brisk autumn afternoon. A perfect companion for any of our desserts.

Let’s find out if this beer will change my mind about pumpkin beers…

  • Appearance: Clear amber/orange color. Fast rising head that disappears as rapidly as it formed. No lacing.
  • Aroma: The pumpkin pie spices are definitely there, i.e. clove, cinnamon, allspice, etc., but they’re not all that potent. A hint of candied orange is in there too.
  • Taste: Lightly carbonated. There’s a hint of those pumpkin pie spices coming through, but it’s even more subdued than it was in the nose. Not much in the way of bitterness or sweetness. Picked up a bit of vanilla and allspice in the finish, but not enough to keep me interested. Annoying aftertaste that I can’t quite figure out.
  • ABV: 5.5%

I really wanted to like this beer. I mean, I like the name, I like the artwork on the can, and I really like that it’s brewed in my hometown, but in case you couldn’t tell from my tasting notes, Manayunk Brewing Company’s Yunkin’ Punkin’ Ale just didn’t thrill me. Personally, I think it has more to do with the style (i.e. pumpkin ale) than the actual beer itself since I still haven’t figured what a pumpkin ale is supposed to taste like.

17 replies »

  1. Hi G-LO!
    As I’ve come to expect here on the Booze Dancing blog, the photo is really fantastic. I’m not a beer drinker whatsoever – so apologies for the complete ignorance of this question – but with beers like pumpkin ales and other non-grain beers, are the brewers only fermenting the fruit/vegetable in the mash or are they also adding some grains or is it entirely brewers choice?

    I feel like if I were a beer drinker, pumpkin ales would get me in the autumnal spirit – much like the ever-present pumpkin spice latte’s at Starbucks – but also like the coffee, doubt they’d really be my cup of tea either. 🙂



    • Glad you liked the pic! I enjoy getting in touch with my wee creative side every now and again.

      Re: pumpkin beer, I’m far from an expert (I spend my time drinking and tasting the stuff vs. getting super geeky and worrying about how it’s actually made), but from what I’ve read, pumpkin beer is essentially a regular beer (water, malted barley, yeast, and hops) with pumpkin and spices added to the mix. If it were just fermented pumpkin, then I guess it would be a pumpkin cider or pumpkin wine. Is there such a thing? Would you want to drink it?

      As far as the actual pumpkin beer style, I’m still on the fence about it. They either go full blown pumpkin pie like Southern Tier’s Pumking (over the top in a good way, but small portions only please), or not spiced up enough which usually leaves me with a weird aftertaste. You’re right about it being potentially quite festive, but given my overall experiences with the stuff, I’ll stick with Stouts and Porters when it comes time to having a heartier cool weather beer, i.e. a Winter Warmer. Or I’ll have a whisky!

      And for the record, sweet potato pie is infinitely better than pumpkin pie.



      • That’s so interesting – I’ll have to read more about it (whenever I find a spare moment) 😉 – but I appreciate your reply. And yes, I’m totally with you, when it gets a bit colder outside, it’s whisky from here on out for me! Aside from the occasional gin martini, not many other liquors are going to see me again till Spring! 🙂



        • Happy to help! And with regards to your drink of choice for the colder months, I can’t argue with your logic. Though to tell the truth, whisky is a year round beverage for me. It’s not so much the season as the time of day that determines what I drink at any given time. While I always enjoy a tasty beer, if it’s late at night and if there’s an extended drinking session afoot, then whisky is my drink of choice. I don’t know why, but the morning after late night whisky drinking, I generally feel ok as long as I don’t overdue it.

          As far as gin martinis go, I’ve never really explored them, but I am intrigued for sure, so I’ll have to give one a try one of these days, especially since I have a new found appreciation for gin.


      • Bingo! (and you’re at least some kind of archexpert). Most pumpkins are essentially pales with pumpkin pulp and a few spices in the boil and/or spices added in secondary fermentation). More and more pumpkin porters are popping up which add the roasty, chocolatey notes.


        • I keep hearing about these pumpkin porters and stouts. I’m thinking that combination would work really well assuming that they take a “go big or go home” approach.


    • Pumpkin ales really do pair perfectly with a cool, crisp Autumn evening but much like those spectacular Fall leaves, if they’re out of place (like piling up on the lawn demanding to be raked and hauled to the street), they’re uninspiring. Go out and grab a Southern Tier Pumking or Shipyard Smashed Pumpkin. Those are the Great Pumpkins in Charley Brown’s craft beer pumpkin patch.



  2. I definitely prefer the spicier pumpkin beers to the more pie like ones (Pumking), so I’ll have to try this out. I’ve been seeing Manayunk cans a lot lately, but been skipping them. Are their other beers worth picking up?


    • I didn’t care for this one but enjoyed the raspberry ale (not mind blowing, but I thought it was pretty good). Their IPA is supposed to be quite good though.


    • Their double IPA is good but not special – a straightforward East Coast IIPA. I didn’t care for the Schuylkill Punch as much as G-Lo did. On the whole I think they’re a better than average brewery but the 4 packs are overpriced.



  3. So it was shaping up to be another one of those late Monday afternoons where you’d be better off carving wide angle perspectives of Iditerod feeding stations into bars of Ivory soap with a soggy matchstick until I fired up the interwebs Ouija board and your review appeared in the fisheye window. Fortunately, I read Portuguese so I felt prepared to peruse it, secure in the knowledge that if those lesser Iberian Peninsula hackers instantly transformed everything into their language (which I figured they were apt to do because, really, WTF else do they have to do?), I’d be good to go.

    Thankfully, I didn’t have to Break Lisbon and got through your review despite the thick accent (still not sure how you do that by just typing). I’m mostly with you but give Yunkin’ slighly higher marks for being reasonably crisp and more versatile then many pumpkin brews. That said, it fell well below the Four Headless Horsemen of Pumpkin Ales:

    Southern Tier Pumking
    Shipyard Smashed Pumpkin
    Dogfish Head Punk’in Ale
    Schlafly Pumpkin Ale

    Octoberfests, on the other hand, are awful. They’re the lager equivalent of Amber ales (apologies to Stone Levitation, which is quite good).

    I’d keep depressing keys but theres some British chap yapping on and saying that this skit has gotten silly. That Ouija board must really work after all…


    And for something completely different……

    Theoretical Physics!


    • Geez. I guess I better add that Schlafly one to my list as well. Good thing I like this kinda homework even when there’s a pretty good chance that I won’t like the beer. All in the name of research!

      And yes, Oktoberfests pretty much suck. The Great Lakes version is the rare exception, but they make other far superior beers, so I’ll probably pass on their version as well and stick with an Elliot Ness or a Dortmunder Gold. Those brews be tasty!


      • Sadly, I find that I must agree with the Monger (of course, my Portuguese isn’t as strong as his so I might have lost something in the translation). I find Pumpkin beers to be a curiosity more than a style and I’m still not sure about Oktoberfests as there really isn’t anything festive about them. If you are looking for a migratory beer to take you from a Summer Ale to a Winter Warmer, I’d rather have a solid Tripel (La Fin Du Monde or a Captain Lawrence Xtra Gold Tripel) or just jump right into a Russian Imperial (Stone’s is fantastic and I am quite partial to the Big Eddy).


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